By Shya Beth
While most people are familiar with art mediums like paintings and sculptures—mediums that routinely involve adding something to a canvas or adding clay to the armature of the sculpture—Lynn Kibbe’s medium is vastly different. A two-dimensional subtractive art form known as scratchboard, it typically consists of a white kaolin clay-coated hardboard panel covered with black India ink. Sharp tools are then used to remove, or scratch through, the black ink, exposing the white clay underneath.
“I was drawn to scratchboard due to the high contrast and the amount of detail I could get,” Lynn explained. “From the detail of a horse’s mane to the whiskers of the muzzle, I’m able to achieve a level of detail nearly unparalleled by other mediums.”
The majority of the values within the black and white artwork are achieved by varying the number of surface layers that have been removed, and it can take two weeks to several months to finish a custom scratchboard piece. Artworks may be left black and white, or the exposed clay areas can be colored. “Being an animal lover, scratchboard is the perfect medium for animal fur as well as many other subjects,” Lynn said. “I’ve learned over the years that patience is a virtue with this medium and that taking your time with it will give you the best results.”
Born and raised around Salladasburg, Pennsylvania, Lynn rode horses and created art from a young age. Some years, Lynn’s parents would lease horses for her and her siblings to ride during the summer, which furthered Lynn’s equine knowledge and love of horses. “One horse in particular would always buck when you rode double on him,” she recalled. “My brother was riding him once and asked if I wanted to ride on the back. I agreed to jump on if he didn’t run, so naturally my brother made him gallop and I was bucked off!”
Lynn rode all kinds of horses throughout her adolescent years, and has fond memories of competing in local horse shows. Later in her young adult years, Lynn experienced riding a Tennessee Walking Horse for the first time. “I was receiving lessons at the time and was taught how to ask the horse for the gait, and was so surprised at how comfortable it was to ride. It was truly enjoyable, and for someone who had only ridden for fun and bounced around a lot, that was quite a change.”
After getting married and leaving home to join the military, Lynn no longer owned her own horses and rarely got the chance to ride. As her professional careers were mainly in secretarial and paralegal positions, Lynn was still able to keep up with her painting hobby. By 2005, Lynn and her husband, retired from the military, moved back to Central Pennsylvania on 106 acres and surrounded by wildlife where Lynn continued her administrative career.
Five years later, Lynn decided to quit working for others and was prepared to dive into the field she had always loved most—art. “I enjoy the freedom to create art and being able to put more into it as a full-time job than I could as a hobbyist,” she said. Besides being inspired by the natural world, artists like Bill Inman and Mark Carder, and later Lorna Hannett and Cathy Sheeter, have inspired her artistic process.
Her experience in other mediums such as drawing, oils and watercolors, helped establish the foundation on which she could create exquisitely detailed scratchboard drawings. At her rural Pennsylvania studio, which she calls “Foggy Mountain Studio,” Lynn says living in the country has its challenges. “There’s a very large area between city hubs that doesn’t have opportunities for visual artists,” Lynn explained. “It almost always means I need to travel far outside my immediate area for art festivals and exhibits.”
Lynn says that art galleries, art societies and public art centers and exhibits are prime opportunities to increase art appreciation, and just this year received the highly coveted recognition of Signature Status in the International Society of Scratchboard Artists. “It was a longtime personal goal of mine,” Lynn said proudly.
In her free time, Lynn enjoys collecting model horses, attending model horse shows and spending time with nature and wildlife that surround her home.
Art for Animals
Lynn recognizes there are always animals in need everywhere in the world, and makes a point to donate paintings as fundraisers or a portion of her sales to a variety of animal rescues and advocate groups. “Since I depict many animals and am an animal lover, I typically like donating to those causes,” she said. “Other organizations I’ve donated to include the ASPCA, the SPCA of Williamsport, Beckoning Cat Project and Appalachian Horse Help & Rescue, as well as donations to several animal rescue organizations that participated in the national flood- and fire-ravaged areas. “So many animals require our help,” she added, “and I feel it’s our duty as animal lovers to help wherever possible.”
For more information, visit lynnkibbefineart.weebly.com
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